Cabinet Conclusions, 1944 to 1979

T​he Secretary to the Cabinet prepares documents for meetings of the Cabinet, which consists of advisors to the Prime Minister of Canada. Known as Cabinet Conclusions or Cabinet minutes, these documents include agendas, lists of attendees and summaries of discussions. Search this database to find these Cabinet records from 1944 to 1979.

Search the database

  • Go to Collection Search and click on "Advanced search"
  • In the "All these words" box, enter a keyword to search the title of the agenda items
    • Try various English terms (English was the main working language)
    • Try French terms for topics after 1970
    • Try a term from Keywords listed by year for issues and events from 1972 to 1979
  • In the "Database" box, select "Cabinet Conclusions”
  • Optional: for “Date," enter a specific year or a range of years
  • Optional: for "Exact date" enter year and month
  • Optional: for "Type of record," leave the option at "All" or select a type from the drop-down menu
  • o Select "Agenda only" to search for terms
  • Click the "Search" button

Accessing the records

For database entries with a digitized image, you have two options:

  • Click on the digitized image to open it
  • Click on the record title to see the full record details (including the archival reference and the image), such as:
    • title
    • Item ID number (not part of the archival reference)
    • meeting date
    • reference (including access code)

For database entries that do not have a digital image:

Include these details from the database entry when completing the copy or retrieval form:

  • title
  • meeting date
  • reference

Access codes indicate whether you may view the records. The most common codes are 90 (open) and 32 (restricted by law). See Collection Search help for details.

About Cabinet

Cabinet is formed and led by the Prime Minister and includes the current ministers. The Privy Council Office acts as the Secretariat to the Cabinet. Meetings deal with a wide range of topics, both domestic and international.

Cabinet creates government policy and priorities and is responsible for:

  • managing all government departments
  • writing and implementing government legislation
  • creating government financial policy

Cabinet meets:

  • regularly while Parliament is in session
  • during breaks and throughout the summer
  • more frequently for urgent situations and may meet to discuss only one issue

About the records

Cabinet Conclusions were formally recorded starting in 1944 and include:

  • list of attendees
    • ministers and their portfolios or responsibilities
    • Secretary of the Cabinet and other attending officials
  • agenda
    • discussion items and where in the document the discussion starts
    • may list just one urgent issue, or may list many discussion items
  • minutes of the previous meeting
    • summary of decisions

Before 1970, these documents are only in English, as it was the main working language of government. After 1970, agenda titles and descriptive entries were translated and may be searched with French keywords.

Related resources at Library and Archives Canada

Cabinet Documents

Cabinet Documents are background reports or memoranda on specific topics that are mentioned in Cabinet Conclusions (for example, Cab.Doc. 389-71). To find a database entry for a Cabinet Document:

  • Go to Collection Search and click on "Advanced search"
  • In the "All these words" box, enter "C-20-5" and "2-15" and the year of the Cabinet Document
  • Click the "Search" button

Cabinet Documents are not digitized, but they may be retrieved and consulted on site, or you may order copies online. Some Cabinet Documents are restricted by law (code 32), so you may have to submit an access to information request.

Cabinet discussions before 1944

There are no formal Cabinet records before 1944. You may search the papers of prime ministers and ministers to find information about Cabinet discussions.

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